Notice your dog moving slowly to greet you when you get home? Are they more vocal when laying down? Has the spring in their step turned to a slow trot? Time to take action.
As the name suggests, degenerative joint disease (DJD), also known as osteoarthritis, is a painful inflammatory disorder that worsens over time. Once it sets in, there’s no curing it; however, that doesn’t mean your pet has to live in pain.
Worried your dog is suffering from canine arthritis? Review this list of causes, warning signs, and remedies to help your pup age gracefully.
Causes of Doggie Arthritis
While it’s true that there are some basic wear and tear involved in DJD, the bigger cause comes down to inflammation. Over time, chronic micro-swelling and the proteins produced by it damage cartilage tissue to the point of disintegration. Once this happens, pups face the painful reality of a bone on bone existence.
But what causes the inflammation in the first place? Research suggests a doggie’s diet is a huge predictor of future joint pain. More specifically, the more processed the puppy chow, the worse off they’ll be. When it comes to unhealthy dog food ingredients, some of the worst offenders are grain and wheat-based dog foods, rice, soy, additives and preservatives, sugar, and dairy products.
You might think that since canines are carnivorous, meat might not affect them. Truth is, factory-farming creates stress in the bodies of animals meant for slaughter. This creates some of the most common proteins that catalyze inflammation.
Common Symptoms of Canine DJD
Even slight pain and discomfort can turn the most docile dogs into irritable grumps. Since Fido can’t tell you where it hurts, it’s important to pay close attention to even subtle shifts. If you notice any of these early warning canine arthritis signs, talk to your vet and get an action plan in place.
- Little to no interest in activities including play
- Groans, whimpers, and yelps when getting up or laying down
- Slow to get up or down
- Rigid elbows and knees or limping
- Inability to keep up during walks
- Lethargy and increased sleep
- Uncharacteristic irritable or aggressive behavior
Ways to Alleviate Doggie Joint Pain
When it comes to degenerative joint disease, fats are a huge fix. They won’t resolve the issue entirely, but the right types in the right amounts can balance the inflammation that’s creating the pain.
By that, we don’t mean just any fat. Nor do we promote extra fat on their person. In fact, weight gain can exacerbate the issue.
Instead, you’ll want to focus on incorporating stabilized omega-3 fatty acids into their diets and avoiding an overabundance of omega-6 fats. The former helps combat inflammation while some grain-fed animals are full of omega-6s that can trigger it.
Whether you opt for grain-free dog food or choose to supplement his kibble with omega-3s found in fish, fish oil, and phytoplankton, the more you can take the inflammation down, they better they’ll feel.
Additional supplements to reduce inflammation include antioxidants like turmeric, certain fruits like blueberries and goji berries, and some herbs including ginger and cinnamon. Ask your vet for other all-natural recommendations and discuss any additional ingredients before augmenting your dog’s food.
Realistically, your dog’s body is likely to wear out eventually despite your best efforts. But with a watchful eye and some effortful anti-inflammation feeding, you’ll be able to reduce joint pain, and keep Fluffy protected from other inflammatory diseases from cancer to allergies!